Welcome to 2024, everyone! With a new year comes a chance to reflect on the past year’s performance; what worked well? What needs tweaking? Is there opportunity for growth? Leaders, this is your time to shine. And with this time of growth and development dawning with the new year, you’re likely already having these thoughts regarding your own ventures.
For many, this is the time to set and begin work on resolutions for the year ahead. Changes to spending habits, dedication to exercise, creating a new self care regime, or completing a pile of DIY projects before starting a new one, these are all examples of resolutions we often see set for people in the personal sides of their lives. What’s stopping us from setting similar resolutions on the professional side as well?
Management and members of leadership might be starting this year with new expectations of productivity, goals for customer generation, the list of areas an organization would like to develop is different for each business. One area that is universally great to devote resources to is developing your people. Leaders, when you’re planning the new year, how much time are you devoting to learning and development of your team? Taking it one step further, how much are you devoting to your own learning journey, so you can lead your people in the most effective way?
Great managers are consistently giving their team members opportunities to grow and learn on their development journeys. Updating skills, maintaining qualifications, and providing opportunities to learn new things are opportunities that management can offer to engage their team members. While prioritizing the learning and growth of their people, managers can sometimes forget their skills need updating and their leadership practices can be improved.
The professional world is constantly changing. Sticking with the status quo isn’t going to work, and it’s important that leaders are in tune with the changes that need to happen within their organizations. In the spirit of making and maintaining resolutions for the new year, let’s look at what developing in leadership can improve, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to make these moves a part of your next year!
There are two main skill sets that are of great importance to managers: technical and interpersonal.
Technical skills will make your team successful in the field. Technical development keeps your business relevant, cutting edge, efficient, and competitive. While managers may not be as hands-on as their team members, they need to understand the systems and technologies their employees are working with and be able to answer their questions. By keeping up with relevant training on technical skills, they can support their teams through new installs, integrating old tech with new (if need be), or any hiccups that may happen during a transfer from one system to another. Maintaining the relevance of your training and understanding of the field you’re working in is how you’ll support your team through transition periods.
Interpersonal skills are incredibly valuable to managers and are sadly lacking from most companies’ training plans. How leaders interact with their people needs to be consistently evolving, taking into account the unique demands each person has in order to communicate well and perform to the best of their abilities. In a similar vein, each leader is going to have areas of strength and areas to develop, especially when interacting with other people. One leader might excel at performance reviews, but struggle with creating a sense of cooperation within the team. Another might excel at positive communication, but struggle when faced with interpersonal conflict. Soft skills are hard to define and even harder to teach. However, truly effective managers are seek to learn about soft skills and incorporate them into their management practices.
Developing managers’ skills in these two areas—technical and soft skills—will be beneficial to the entire team. Managers who can communicate effectively create teams who can do the same. Managers who understand productivity limitations and know how to set correct deadlines will be more productive and accurate, leading success for their teams. Managers who are confident in their own abilities will pass that confidence on to those they lead.
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